FFL staff worked with two assisted-living facilities to promote upgrading their old fixtures and using better irrigation practices.
Sugarmill Manor’s water usage
Brentwood Retirement Community’s water usage
The Dorchester of Palm Beach is a four-acre, luxury condominium property located on 400 feet of ocean beach frontage and surrounded by lush tropical plants.
Since installing a smart irrigation controller for their 26-zone irrigation system they:
The Dorchester’s bills for the previous two years showed that they had saved over one million gallons of water and about $6,000 on their water bill in just the first seven months of using the new smart irrigation controller.
The conventional irrigation was retrofitted to micro-irrigation. The grass, especially under the trees, was in decline, and the shrubs and perennials were overplanted, giving the landscape an unattractive and overcrowded appearance. The community removed the turf, added new Florida-Friendly plants and trees and transplanted the overcrowded plant material.
Florida-friendly materials, such as mulch, earth-toned pavers, crushed sea shells and egg rock pebbles, fieldstone boulders were installed into the landscape.
This project resulted in a landscape that is not only drought resistant and low in maintenance (no mowing, minimal watering) but is also visually and artistically appealing.
Saved an average of 8,775 gallons per month.
The Villages government annex and Sumter County public library annuals were replaced with Florida-Friendly perennials. Perennial water-wise plants suited for the right place last longer and have less maintenance costs compared to bedding annuals.
Prior to 2010, annual beds were installed four times a year. Maintenance included irrigation, fertilization, weeding, pest control and deadheading plants to keep them aesthetically pleasing. During 2010, these annuals were replaced with a water-wise, relatively pest free plant that required far less maintenance than the annuals that the county had been using.
$2,935 will be saved every year by using the recommend Florida-Friendly water-wise perennials.
The additional benefit of using the Florida-Friendly water-wise plant Bulbine frutescens is that it attracts honeybees and other pollinating insects.
As a result of FFL training, a Master Gardener was able to convince the HOA board to reduce lawn irrigation of an association of 35 families from 4 to 5 times per week down to 2 times per week. In June of 2012, she was able to convince the board to reduce lawn irrigation to once per week.
Saved 3,360,000 gallons and $10,786 per year.
The association annual budget for water for 2013 was $56,000. Actual Water spent for 2013 was $44,794 which saved the association $11,200 for 2013 and and created a more environment-friendly community that is more cost-efficient to maintain.
Too much shade resulted in unhealthy turf that was not able to take up nutrients to prevent erosion. They also had poor pruning practices.
By implementing FFL Practices, water use was reduced by 6.4 million gallons over 2 years (34.1 million gallons → 27.7 million gallons)
After a series of FFL classes, one of the three villages in Ocean Gallery, the Village Las Palmas community decided to decrease irrigation cost and save water for common areas. They applied low volume irrigation, installed soil moisture sensor, and replaced difficult-to-maintain turf grass areas with groundcovers, which require less irrigation and maintenance.
Saved ten million gallons of water in 2½ years, and $6,500/year.
Spruce Creek Golf and Country Club in Marion County is a great example of a collaborative effort to conserve water.
Until a few years ago, the community was experiencing low water pressure and high water use. A team effort among the homeowners’ association, the utility, the St. Johns River Water Management District, UF Extension, the garden club, and the residents, resulted in a 40 percent water savings in two years.
The community reduced water use from a high of over 400 gallons per person per day to a low of 179 gallons.
Willow Bend in Osprey, Florida is the first development to incorporate Florida-friendly landscaping throughout the community. The developers paid attention to its unique location abutting Oscar Scherer State Park, a recognized habitat for the threatened Florida scrub jay.
“Our associates explained our approach to Willowbend from the very beginning, so our homeowners were those who bought into the concept. That eased the process when we worked jointly to draw up community rules and regulations.”
The community regulations stipulate that “Willowbend was developed as a ‘Florida Yards’ community, and as such, the landscaping palette initially selected by the developer shall continue to be utilized in selecting plant material that is consistent with Florida Yards guidelines, unless otherwise approved by the board.”
St. George Plantation Homeowners’ Association (SGPOA) embarked upon a long-term Master Landscaping Plan (MLP) for conservation and sustainability, incorporating principles of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program (FFLP).
In early 2011, in order to broaden these efforts with a more comprehensive approach, the Plantation Board of Directors adopted Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (FFLP) policies and amended the architectural Design Guide to encourage the FFLP principles and palette of plantings for all individual home construction, renovation and landscaping.
Year One 2012:
Year Two 2013:
Year Three 2014:
Irrigation costs were busting the budget of the Royal Stewart Arms condominium complex, located on Honeymoon Island in Dunedin.
“We were spending almost $40,000 a year,” said Sharon Wilson, property manager for the complex that includes eight residential buildings with 449 condos. “Because we border a sensitive area and reclaimed water is not available to us, we knew we had to look at other solutions.”
Royal Stewart Arms residents transformed the front of their complex using Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles. Now they use less water and have a beautiful entrance.
Linda Hildenbrand, one of the landscape committee members, contacted Doris Heitzmann, who met with the landscape committee and property manager before attending a board meeting. She suggested the association make over the entrance and some of the common areas by transforming them into Florida-friendly landscapes. She also suggested they install micro-irrigation in the areas and apply for grants to help pay for the project.
The association secured a grant for $8,887 from the city to expand the planting areas in the front of the complex. Al Blalock, landscape committee chair, took the lead on the project by teaching volunteers and the maintenance workers how to retrofit the irrigation system with micro-irrigation.
Blalock and about 20 residents did a variety of tasks, including shrub removal and other ground preparation as well as installing the micro-irrigation system and the new Florida-friendly plants. They also installed rain shutoff devices.
Blalock manually turned the micro-irrigation system on during the plants’ establishment period. He continues to monitor the plants in all the common areas, turning on the water only when it is needed.
Blalock also learned they could do the same with the grass, skipping a week of irrigation when the lawn did not need it.
“Doris told us that turf goes dormant in the winter months and does not need as much water to survive,” said Blalock. “We were worried when it got a little brown, but it grew back and looks as good as ever.”
Heitzmann taught the community how to look for the first signs of drought and to irrigate only when turf and plants indicate stress.
Before learning about the “skip-a-week” concept and installing micro-irrigation in Florida-friendly landscaped areas, Royal Stewart Arms used 3,640,000 gallons of potable water for irrigation between Oct. 2006 and June 2007. This cost $17,597.
After learning about the benefits of skipping a week of irrigation, they decided to take it one step further. “We do more than skip a week, we skip months,” said Hildenbrand.
During Oct. 2007 and June 2008, the community did not irrigate the common areas. The association only used 693,000 gallons of water for irrigation, which cost $3,676. That’s a savings of 2,947,000 gallons of water and $13,921 over the same period as the previous year!
“The documented water and cost savings are impressive,” said Sallie Parks, District Governing Board member and co-chair ex officio of the Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board.
Parks learned about the condo association’s efforts through her work at the District and attended a Dunedin city commission meeting in support and recognition of their efforts at Royal Stewart Arms.
“It takes a champion to lead,” said Parks. “This condo association is an example to the city and the entire community.”
The community has made strong efforts to reduce water consumption in the landscape by installing a satellite-controlled irrigation system and using primarily stormwater for irrigation.
In response to recent water restrictions, Pelican Preserve has reduced the golf course irrigation by 30% and the average household water consumption for irrigation is typically very low at 650 – 714 gal/mo/household. The community participates in a voluntary water quality monitoring program which they began in Feb 2002 as part of their certification by Audubon International.